By Jason Marsteller
PHOENIX, Arizona, October 3. COMING off a solid performance at the initial FINA World Youth Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Ian Rowe has a solid future ahead of him. Earlier this month, Rowe earned a spot on the USA Swimming 2006-07 National Junior Team along with a pair of teammates (Kirsten Groome and Felicia Lee) from the North Baltimore Aquatic Club.
“[World Youth] was awesome,” Rowe said. “We did so well as a team. The best thing about the experience was representing the U.S., and being able to compete against foreign athletes. The whole experience was so awesome, I can’t really put it into words.”
During his primary race at the World Youth meet, Rowe earned international hardware with a bronze in the 1500 freestyle. He finished the race with a time of 15:33.97. That performance proved to be a confidence booster for the 17-year-old.
“I know now that I have competed against some of the best people around the world,” Rowe said of his opponents at World Youth. “I can use that to propel me in my racing from now on. If I can [compete against the best at World Youth], I can [compete against anyone].”
Rowe found his way to the sport just like a lot of younger age groupers – solid parenting. As Rowe describes, his parents, Carla and Peter, wanted to make sure he was safe around the water. This led him into swimming lessons where he immediately developed a love for the sport. After lessons, he never wanted to get out of the water. That parental devotion hasn’t been overlooked by the Maryland native when asked who has made the biggest impact on his life.
“My parents,” Rowe said. “You guys must hear that a lot, but they have really helped me through the hard times when I wanted to quit. They always stay positive. They don’t know much about swimming, but they know that I love it. They also help me to study and make sure I am doing well with my schoolwork.”
Another distance freestyler caught Rowe’s eye at an early age and has been an inspiration to the budding distance star. Erik Vendt, at 5-10 and 160 pounds, has a similar build as Rowe and gives the Junior Team member hope that greatness can still be found in a smaller package.
“I have always been pretty short my whole life,” Rowe said. “I saw [Erik] when I was younger and thought, ‘This guy is just awesome.’ He has to work hard, so I try to model myself after him.”
That same hard work and dedication that has led Vendt back into the competitive arena with Club Wolverine, has been a hallmark for the younger Rowe. When asked what one piece of advice he had for anyone his age looking to improve in the sport, Rowe immediately responded with “Hard Work.”
“You have to work hard every day,” Rowe said. “Whether it is in warm ups, the middle of sets, or at the end of the sets, you have to work hard. You also have to work hard on your technique. If you are training fast with bad technique, you really aren’t going anywhere.”
Rowe also spoke to SwimmingWorldMagazine.com about his favorite sets.
“I have a lot of favorite sets, because I like to work really hard,” Rowe said. “I have success in a lot of them, but my favorite is 30 100s in long course free on 1:30.”
The Junior Team berth and the World Youth experience have only helped Rowe’s drive to be even more successful on the international scene while representing the United States.
“Being named to the World Youth Team [has been my biggest accomplishment],” Rowe said. “That was huge for me, but I am not going to stop there.”